FUKUOKA – Ryota Wakiya sparked the Seibu Lions’ comeback in a 6-4 come-from-behind victory over the Pacific League-leading Fukuoka Softbank Hawks on Sunday afternoon.
A light-hitting career. 259 batter, Wakiya went 3-for-5 with two runs and two RBIs as the Lions overturned a four-run deficit before 37,407 at Yafuoku Dome and handed Hawks starter Hayato Terahara (7-1) the loss. Trailing 4-0 in the fourth, Wakiya hit an opposite-field, two-run home run that just carried over the short fence in left.
“It was a ball and I hit it off the end of the bat, but it fell in,” the 33-year-old Wakiya said of his 16th career homer.
After Hideto Asamura’s one-out solo homer in the sixth, Wakiya restarted the Lions offense with a single. A walk to Japan’s biggest home run hitter, Takeya Nakamura, and a Tomoya Mori single loaded the bases, and Ernesto Mejia singled home Wakiya to tie it.
Hawks skipper Kimiyasu Kudo intended to pull his right-handed starter before he pitched to the left-handed-hitting Mori. But the rookie manager got his signals crossed with pitching coach Yoshinori Sato, who crossed the foul line and then returned empty handed, leaving Terahara on the mound to face the music.
“That was my mistake,” Kudo said after his team blew a four-run lead for the first time this season.
After a pitching change was successfully executed, pinch hitter Masato Kumashiro put Seibu in front with a sacrifice fly off reliever Yuya Iida. Iida put the Hawks in hot water again in the seventh, allowing two walks and a one-out infield single to Wakiya that loaded the bases for Nakamura.
Right-hander Akira Niho popped up the Seibu slugger for the second out, but walked Mori to hand the visitors an insurance run.
Submarine right-hander Kazuhisa Makita, Seibu’s opening day starter, hit a batter in the ninth, but recorded his second save.
Until Wakiya struck, the Hawks were cruising behind Terahara and the bat of Lee Dae-ho. Lee took Lions rookie Kona Takahashi deep with a man on in the first and doubled in two runs in the third to make it 4-0. Takahashi (2-1) was able to limit the damage by twice turning line drives back to the mound into double plays and ended up the winner, despite allowing four runs over five innings.
Marines 5, Buffaloes 0
At Kyocera Dome, Yuta Omine (6-5) scattered five hits and two walks over 6⅓ innings, and three relievers preserved the shutout as Chiba Lotte blanked Orix. Katsuya Kakunaka and Ikuhiro Kiyota each drove in two runs for the Marines.
Fighters 2, Eagles 1
At Kobo Stadium Miyagi, Masaru Nakamura (1-3) allowed a run in seven innings, and Yang Dai-kang and Brandon Laird hit solo homers as Hokkaido Nippon Ham came from a run down to beat Tohoku Rakuten.
Dragons 3, Giants 2
At Nagoya Dome, rookie Shunta Wakamatsu (6-2) allowed a run in six innings, and Ryosuke Hirata drove in a pair of runs as Chunichi came from a run down to beat Yomiuri, which wasted a golden scoring opportunity in the ninth when two men in scoring position were thrown out on the bases on the same play.
Tigers 6, Swallows 1
At Jingu Stadium, Takashi Toritani opened the game with a home run and Kosuke Fukudome also homered and drove in four runs as Hanshin clobbered Tokyo Yakult behind six innings of one-run ball from lefty Suguru Iwazaki (2-5).
Carp 7, BayStars 2
At Mazda Stadium, Yuya Fukui (8-3) allowed a run in 7⅔ innings, and Hiroshima hit four home runs in a win over Yokohama. The Carp took the lead in the second, when Kosuke Tanaka singled and hustled to score from first on a two-out double that was cut off in the gap.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.